Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Morning

This year, Christmas morning was a little different than it has been over the past several years. This year, a little girl's voice gently woke me up by saying,"Mommy, it's Christmas morning! It's morning! It's Christmas!" This was the first time that we were awakened on Christmas morning instead of having to wake the kids up. As I walked down the hall, Micah's little head popped up from the inside of his crib. He had a big, big smile on his little face and said "Merry Christmas, Mommy!" So sweet! Since Laural was behind me and Steve was still in bed, I knew he came up with it on his own. My heart melted. After getting everyone to the bathroom and slippers and robes on, we headed downstairs to see what wonderful surprises Santa had left us. Both kids were extremely excited and both went right for the presents. It was tough to keep them at a slow enough pace so we could see them open everything. Laural and Micah both got the Pillow Pets they had wanted, so that made for happy children. Micah was so excited! He just wanted to keep ripping packages open. Laural was very excited too - she couldn't wait to see what was next. We had quite the fun morning. After opening all the presents, it was time to get ready to go out to relatives. First up was Steve's mom's and in the afternoon it was to my Grandparent's place. All of my brother's and their kids were there so things got completely chaotic for a while. We didn't stay a very long time because I was feeling rather poorly, so we headed home to let the kids play with some of their new loot and then it was bedtime. Micah was very afraid of the new moon light in their room so he freaked a bit. A few minutes later, he asked Steve "Mommy sleep?" He wanted to sleep with me. So, Steve brought him in and Laural came too. I told them they could cuddle for 10 minutes or so but we all fell asleep pretty fast. A little more than an hour later, I woke up and realized we were all zonked. I woke Steve up and he carried the little ones to their own beds. As much as I enjoy having those sweet little munchkins snuggled up against me, it's hard to sleep with 4 in a bed.

It was a long but glorious day that I will always treasure. I love having my children to celebrate with. I had a few moments of sadness when I thought about the little man who is missing from our family. I really miss my Alexander this time of year. I keep reminding myself that he gets to celebrate with the birthday boy himself - Jesus! It brings a little comfort. After 7 years, my arms still ache to hold him. I am so very blessed to have my Laural and Micah though. They bring me such joy. The Father has blessed me more than I deserve.

Friday, December 3, 2010


The month of November has not been kind to me this year. I spent a great deal of last month feeling quite miserable. It started with a tickle in my throat on about November 3rd that turned into a cough and major chest congestion. I'm still not sure whether it was a cold or the flu or something else entirely. Near the end of the month, I started to feel a little better but then my kids both caught a cold which they so thoughtfully shared with me. That was enough to let the 1st illness get a 2nd stab at me. Now that we are 3 days in to December, I am starting once again to feel a little energy return to my worn out body. I can still only breathe though one nostril though. I probably should have gone to the doctor weeks ago but each time I made up my mind to call, I started to feel a little better and ended up not calling. Anyhow, I think I am finally on the mend and will hopefully be back to my homeschooling, muffin tin monday making, blogging self again soon. We might even manage to get our Christmas tree up sometime in the coming week!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bento Lunch & Hide-n-Seek Jar

I was in a mood today (industrious maybe? which is rare) and decided to make a quick bento lunch for Laural today. Micah was already in bed because some days he just gets too fussy and refuses to stay up for lunch which bugs me since the boy eats like a bird as it is! Anyhow, I decided to use Laural's princess sandwich box today.
She had a sliced red pepper, cheese stick cut in two, chicken nuggets, apple wedges and different colors of lettuce as baran. She was rather excited to be using her princess lunch box. I also have a small drink jug that matches but I didn't get a pic of that today.

One of our activities today was to use our Halloween hide-n-seek jar. I got the idea from Chasing Cheerios. I have seen similar things in the store for a hefty price and loved the idea but never even considered making something like it ourselves. So, inspired by Chasing Cheerios, I gathered stuff from around our house and I bought a few things too.
I arranged everything on a tray and took a picture which I printed out and laminated. The kids toss a button or small stone on the picture and whatever it lands on, they have to look for in the jar.

I used a Prego Spaghetti sauce jar and filled it with the Halloween theme goodies and black beans. I also threw a couple things in the jar that weren't on the photo as a surprise. Laural enjoyed it more than Micah but I think he was more hungry than anything else at the time I showed it to him. We will try it again tomorrow.

Micah is currently fascinated with pumpkins - how can he not be as they are everywhere this time of year - so the first thing he noticed was the pumpkin in the jar and had to point it out over and over. Then he pointed to the pumpkins I have in the middle of our table as a centerpiece and the big one sitting by the fridge that will be carved sometime tomorrow and made sure that I knew that those were pumpkins too. The boy loves his pumpkins!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Bento

I decided to make a quickie Halloween bento for Laural today while Micah was napping. Unfortunately, the battery on my camera died, so I had to use my phone which takes perfectly fine pics if there is plenty of light. It was, however, a very overcast day here in not-so-sunny western PA, so my pic is a little blurry.
She had: slimy worms, mummies with bloody feet, a jack-o-lantern and spider eggs in white goo.
Also known as green beans with butter, hot dogs wrapped in croissant strips with ketchup to dip in, half an orange with fruit roll features and vanilla yogurt with orange and yellow nonpareils. It was a big hit and she ate every last morsel. Mommy just had the leftover bits and pieces.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Slime Time!

I decided to make some good old fashioned slime to play with today. Ah, it takes me back to the days of my youth when kids would bring in a small tub of the stuff and distract class with it, driving the teacher to confiscate the goo until the end of the year. In our house though, slime is part of school, not something for the teacher to get upset over. It's actually pretty awesome to see what happens when 2 liquids are introduced to each other - a nice and simple science lesson for a 5 year old. It's super easy to make too.

Laural was afraid to touch it at first but then she had a ball with it - especially after she realized she could make "rude sounds" with it. We liked to set it up in various shapes and then watch it melt down and ooze back to a shapeless blob.

Slime is awesome!

One of the last things we did with it before putting it away was roll it into a long snake and then I draped it over my hands and we watched as the ends stretched lower and lower. Each time the ends reached the table, I'f lift the slime higher until we must have had at least a 6 foot long slime snake. At that point it broke and landed on the table in a messy pile. I can't decide whether it looked like a long worm or a pile of intestines. Either way, it looked kinda creepy - perfect for Halloween!

To make slime you need:
1 tsp borax
1 1/2 cups water
4oz of white glue
food coloring

Dissolve the borax into 1 cup of water, set aside. Pour glue into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Add desired food coloring and mix. Pour the borax water in and watch it become slime. Mix it up with your hands. At first it will be really slimy and gross. Then as you mix it up you will have 2 seperate things - slime and liquid. Remove the slime and discard the liquid. Knead the slime a little and it will become one nice, smooth wad of slime. Then, have some fun!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Muffin Tin Meal - Halloween Edition

The current theme over at Muffin Tin Mom is Halloween and I've been looking forward to this one! There are just so many fun things you can do with a Halloween theme. Here is what we came up with:

Top: Jack-o-Lanterns filled with Red Eyeballs (oranges with grapes inside), Owl S'mores, Witches Brew (green smoothie)
Bottom: Severed Fingers (string cheese with almond slices), Candy Corn Pizza, Monster Mouths (apples with almond slices)

Laural loved every bit of it. She kept telling me that she didn't know what to go for first.

Micah really only was interested in eating the chocolate and candy corn off the owl. He was fascinated with everything and loved pointing it all out to me, but he refused to eat anything else. Even the pizza which he normally loves. I guess it didn't quite look right to him.

Aren't these Jack-O-Lantern oranges too cute? I forget where I first saw them - one of the blogs I peep in on or the Family Fun magazine website.

String Cheese Fingers are so creepy! I really liked these. You can see that I cut lines in for the knuckles in this pic. I think I got this one from Our Best Bites.

Monster Mouths are fun and easy. I saw versions of these in several places - some used marshmallows, some used almond slivers and some gave them eyes. I like how they look with the almond slices.

I saw these cuties at Living Locurto. I made mine with strawberry marshmallows (that's all I had), chocolate candy melts since aI had those on hand and little bits of white gum paste with a candy corn for a beak. Love 'em!

Candy Corn Pizza! Ok, it only looks like candy corn - no candy in this pizza. It's a simple cheese pizza - mozzarella in the middle and cheddar around the edge. I saw this somewhere a long time ago but forgot about it until seeing it on Our Best Bites again a few days ago. I sometimes wish I had cuter plates to put things on, but honestly, I don't have the space or the money to go out and buy a variety of plates and dishes for every holiday so my good old flowery Corning Wear will have to do!

I've decided to start doing our muffin tin meals whenever I feel like it rather than only on Monday. I actually intended to start this a long while ago, but I'm a procrastinator in everything that I do. I'll still try to participate in the themes and post to Muffin Tin Mom Blog but getting them done on Monday is just too much of a rush for me since our weekends tend to be so busy.

Don't forget to go on over to Muffin Tin Mom to see what is being served in tins around the world!
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Sensory Tub

I decided to retire the fall/apple theme tub and put a Halloween sensory tub together today. Both kiddos were hovering as I added the elements. Both kiddos were dying to get their hands into the tub! I think it was nearly torture for them to have to wait until I took the picture.

Our tub contains: 4 pounds of black beans, various plastic spiders, bugs, & lizards, a wood scoop, 3 wood bowls, a jack-o-lantern container, green & purple pasta and a green plastic spoon. I removed the large pumpkin and replaced it with a cute pumpkin basket (yard sale find) just after I took the picture.

To say that the kids really enjoyed this tub would be a serious understatement. I think this one will remain popular as long as it is in use. I think there might even be a revolt if I try to replace it after Halloween is over. I think I will have to make the new one under cover of night. I think I'd better include something similar to beans in it as well.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here I am, taking another stab at trying to keep up my menu planning! This is what's on the menu at our house this week:

Breakfast: Muffins & Fruit
Lunch: Muffin Tin Monday - Pumpkin Theme
Dinner: Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes, Carrots

Breakfast: Pancakes, Smoothies
Lunch: Out at a Memorial Luncheon
Dinner: Soft Tacos with Lettuce, Avocado, Sour Cream & Beans

Breakfast: Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits with Homemade Granola
Lunch: Fish Fillets, Potato Skins
Dinner: Pork Roast, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Beans

Breakfast: French Toast, Sausage, Fruit Smoothies
Lunch: Egg Salad/Boiled Eggs, Toast, Broccoli & Carrots
Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Peas
Breakfast: Cheese Omelets, Bacon, Toast, Orange Juice
Lunch: Mini Burgers on Bun, Baked Fries, Carrots & Celery
Dinner: Probably will have dinner out with family for Brother-In-Law's Birthday
Breakfast: Homemade Breakfast Bars, Smoothies
Lunch: Ham, Cheese & Spinach Pinwheels, Snap Peas
Dinner: Baked Salmon, Zucchini Rice Casserole, Beets
Breakfast: Cereal, Milk, Banana
Lunch: Mini Pizzas
Dinner: Sweet & Sour Chicken, Rice, Broccoli

Muffin Tin Monday - Pumpkin Theme

I think today's theme was pumpkins, but I only half checked last night before bed. Usually I plan a little better for our muffin tin meals but with my dad's surgery this past week and all the other stuff that's been going on, I just didn't get to it this week. So, here is what we had:

Top: Grapes; Spinach, Green Pepper & Cukecumber Salad; Green Smoothie
Bottom: 2 Cheese Tortilla Pumpkins with Green Pepper Stems, Vanilla Yogurt with Pumpkin Sprinkles

Also in the pictures are the pumpkins that the kids each decorated at the Fall Fest in Grove City this past weekend.

Laural, as usual, ate everything and then some while Micah ate only the yogurt. He snagged some bread and butter at my parent's house while we were there dropping lunch off to my dad, so he wasn't all that hungry. I was really hoping that he would enjoy the green smoothies, but he isn't too happy with them. They're plenty sweet but I think it has just too strange of a texture for him. Laural loves them though!

In case anybody would like to try a green smoothie, here is my recipe:


1 small banana, broken into chunks
3 or 4 large strawberries, hulled & halved
1/2 cup of grapes
A big handful of spinach leaves (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Put into a blender (I use a Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth.
This makes about 2 1/2 cups of smoothie.

It's an awesome way to get some extra veggies into a picky kids diet - unless they are the pickiest child on earth, like Micah.

Don't forget to check out Muffin Tin Mom for more muffin tin meal fun!
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Monday, October 4, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Circus Theme

It's Monday which means time for a meal in a muffin tin! This week's theme is circus. I looked at last year's tin and decided to do a lot of the same thing since I'm sure the kids really don't remember it all that much.

Top: Strawberry Marshmallow base with Pretzels and Carrot & Grape "Balloons", Cheese and Raisin Confetti, Popcorn
Bottom: Circus Animals Performing in the 1st Ring (peanut butter with an icing ring), Apple Clown, Confetti Yogurt

The kids both thought this was great! As usual, Laural ate everything and Micah picked a few things that he was willing to eat - the yogurt, popcorn, pretzels, and some of the cheese, crackers and peanut butter.
Micah loves popcorn!

Laural licking a carrot like a lollipop.

Check out more muffin tin meals at
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last Year's Muffin Tin Meal - Circus Theme

I was browsing the MTM post concerning last year's circus theme and clicked on my own link only to find that it linked to my blog and not the particular post. So here is the link to that post and sorry for the onconvenience if you clicked here from MTM.

Our 1st Muffin Tin Monday
I came across the cutest idea on another blog and had to investigate further. Muffin Tin Monday - you put lunch or snacks in muffin tins. I went to the Her Cup Overfloweth blog and after looking at all of the links of pics of other mom's MTM creations, I decided I had to do it. So, today we did our first MTM. Laural absolutely loved it. She said it was "the best lunch I ever had!" and "you are the best mommy for making me this wonderful lunch." She is so sweet! Micah was more interested in getting the food into his belly rather than looking at it. LOLThe cups contain: Green pepper strips; an apple head clown with raisins for eyes, red grape nose, blueberry mouth, carrot hair and strawberry hat; drink; lion shaped pb&j; popcorn and vanilla yogurt with colorful sprinkles. This was fun to make and even more fun to see Laural's face light up when she saw it.Please ignore the mess in my kitchen in the pics. LOL I've been reaaranging the kitchen and everything is out of sorts during this process. I hope to have it back to "normal" sometime next week. :)
I almost forgot to add the button for MTM!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

** I decided to copy past the contents as well. **

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sensory Tub, Play Dough & A Giveaway!

I recently fell in love with sensory tubs while perusing a blog called Counting Coconuts, "a place where you'll find lots of learning activities and ideas for toddlers and preschoolers inspired mostly by the Montessori method." This has quickly become one of my new favorite blogs! After spending quite a bit of time there, I decided that we would incorporate the sensory tubs and also play dough play into our learning routine. So, yesterday and today, I've been doing a little shopping and today, we created our first sensory tub!

I decided to go with a fall/apple theme.
Items in the tub:
small silk leaves
foam pumpkin
foam squash
2 medium and 2 small foam apples
3 yarn apples
a small basket
2 small wood bowls
3 silk sunflowers
2 wooden mushrooms
9 plastic "crystal" acorns
an apple shaped mini chalk board
a rubber cricket
little pieces of brown & green chenille stems

Everything was purchased at either Walmart, Dollar Tree or Pat Catan's except for the yarn apples which I made myself.

Micah immediately went for the acorns. He loves stuff like that.

Laural enjoyed playing with the silk leaves, sprinkling them down like leaves falling from the trees.

Next up was play dough. I made a double batch. Now, I have made play dough before, in lots of colors, but I have never before thought of or heard of scenting the play dough. I really liked the idea though. I also really liked the apple pie scented play dough idea at Counting Coconuts. I divided my dough into 2 balls. The first ball I left natural color for the pie crust and scented it with cinnamon, vanilla extract, a little almond extract and butter flavor (like you would use to make butter cream frosting for wedding cakes). It smelled divine all mixed up. My mouth was actually watering. For the 2nd ball, I mixed in a lot of red gel food color, cinnamon and a little bit of tropical punch candy flavoring to give it a fruity smell. Again, it smelled good enough to eat. When Steve got home from work in the morning, I took the lid off the container and asked him to smell it. I asked what he thought it smelled like and he said apple pie! Bingo!

I gave each kid a ball of each dough, an apple or star cookie cutter, a small shallow bowl to use like a pie tin, a plastic knife and the rolling pin. I don't have a little one, so they had to use my big one.

They had a blast playing with it. I told Laural how to make a pie and she made me a very nice pie.

Micah isn't quite to the point of making things like that but he had quite the time using the rolling pin, cookie cutter and knife in the dough.

Most of the time though, he just wanted to smell it.

Now for the really good part - a giveaway! My first giveaway, actually. I had such a fun time planning for and shopping for things in the sensory tub that I want to share the fun! So, here is what I will be giving away to one lucky winner - some fall/apple theme sensory tub fillers!
2 small wood bowls, 2 wood mushrooms, a wood jug, an apple shaped mini chalk board, 4 medium apples, 1 small apple, 2 yarn apples (hand made by me), 3 silk sunflowers, a fall themed cube (like a rubik's cube - see pic below), 9 or 10 "jewel" acorns and a rubber spider.

(I may throw a couple other things in there too that I've picked up since posting this.)

The "rubik's" type cube. I thought it was a cute and clever idea so I grabbed one for my kiddos and a spare for giving away.

The very cute yarn apples that I made. I found this at Make and Takes through Counting Coconuts.

For a chance to win, just leave a comment letting me know that you do and what your experience is with sensory tubs - whether you've tried them before, would like to try them or if you think you'd use the stuff for some other use. Easy peasy!

For bonus entries: share on facebook, tweet and/or blog about the giveaway and leave a separate comment with a link for each thing you do for a total of 4 possible entries per person. Please make sure I have an email address to get in contact with you should you be picked!

Deadline for entries will be October 2nd at 11:59 PM EST.

I'll use random.org to pick a winner sometime in the 24 hours after the close of contest.

Winner should respond within 3 days of being notified or I will pick another winner.

This is a giveaway sponsored by me! Nobody gave me anything or paid me to give anything away. These are things I bought myself - either an extra with the intention of giving it away or part of the contents of a multi pack that I am sharing just because I want to. :)

Well, there were some pretty good odds for the two who commented to win! Random.org says:
Congrats to Frugalhomeschooler! I'll be sending you an email soon!
Thanks to both of you for entering.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed day!

I linked up at Along For the Ride for Crafty Day.
(because I loved those little apples so much!)

Also linked to:
I Could Use a Deal
- a linky listing over a hundred giveaways!

Also linked to:

Monday, September 20, 2010

School Today

A couple highlights from our day today:

Laural did some painting today. We got a sun-catcher at the dollar store which Laural enjoyed painting. It was Ariel - her favorite Disney Princess! Unfortunately, I didn't get any actions shots, just the final product after we hug it in the window.

Micah practiced some fine motor skills today. I gave him a handful of alphabet bead and a shoelace to try his hand at lacing. I think the aglets (yes, I watch Phineas & Ferb) are a bit too short so that made it a tad difficult for him at first. He kept trying though and eventually got the hang of it.

Next, I gave him a pair of easy to use chop sticks and let him try picking up the beads and transfering them to a tray with star and heart shape cups. For the first couple, he had to pick the beads up and put them in the chopsticks. Then he figured it out and was easily picking the beads up with the chopsticks and transferring them like a pro. While we were doing these activities, I would ask him to find a particular letter every now and then which he did great with. He knows almost all of his letters. Then I asked him to tell me what the letters were and as he picked up and placed each bead in a cup, he would shout out the letter. He gets very excited over these things!

This last pic is of Micah getting to play with the colored pasta the other night since he was napping when Laural got to play with them. He immediately took a shine to the wagon wheels so we sorted them all out and he played happily with just those for quite a while. After a bit of playing, I gave him some containers and he really enjoyed transferring the pasta between them. A couple of times, he started to divide them by color but then he seemed unhappy that they were so far apart and gathered all of them together again. It's really quite fun to watch him learn and get so excited over it!


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